One dead in fire on Russia's sole aircraft carrier

Moscow (AFP) - A naval serviceman died and an officer was missing Thursday after Russia's only aircraft carrier caught fire in an Arctic shipyard, the latest accident to raise concern over the future of the navy flagship.

Russian news agencies quoted the Zvezdochka shipyard as saying the fire started during wielding operations in an engine room of the Admiral Kuznetsov, and investigators have launched a probe into possible construction violations.

"A Northern Fleet serviceman died during works to put out the source of smoke," the fleet said in a statement to AFP.

A search was ongoing for an officer of the Admiral Kuznetsov who descended to the location of the welding works to help evacuate the workers.

An official in the Murmansk regional government, minister of information policy Alexandra Kondaurova, told AFP that 10 people were hospitalised, one of whom was in serious condition.

Television footage showed emergency workers near the ship, which was spewing dark grey smoke from one side. The Northern Fleet said in a statement to Russian agencies that hospitalised servicemen suffered from smoke inhalation.

Interfax reported that the fire had spread over an area of about 600 square metres (6,500 square feet) and quoted a source describing the blaze as "very serious".

Russia's industry ministry told AFP that once the fire is out, officials would launch a probe and evaluate the extent of damage.

The Admiral Kuznetsov, which is not nuclear powered, became fully operational in 1995 and is the flagship of the Russian navy.

The repairs were expected to be completed by the end of 2020, with the carrier resuming active service in 2021.

The vessel was deployed to the Mediterranean in 2016 and early 2017 to strike targets in Syria and help Moscow ally President Bashar al-Assad recapture rebel-held areas in the war-torn country.

- 'Ship of shame' -

The ship led a naval group off the Syrian coast, with fighters from the carrier hitting more than 1,200 targets during its mission.

It also stopped off the coast of Libya in January 2017 and took on board military strongman Khalifa Haftar, who Russia has reportedly backed in the country's long-running civil conflict.

Britain's then-defence minister Michael Fallon dubbed the Admiral Kuznetsov Russia's "ship of shame" for its role in the Syria conflict.

The ship suffered several mishaps during the mission, including the crash of two fighter jet into the sea while trying to land on the carrier.

The repairs and upgrades -- with a reported cost of up to 62 billion rubles ($1.0 billion/880 million euros) -- were to focus on the ship's power plant and onboard electronic systems.

The collapse last year of a crane on the ship's deck, which killed one worker and caused major damage, raised concerns the work would be delayed and the carrier would remain out of commission beyond the 2021 deadline.

Russia's navy has battled problems with state financing, ageing shipyards and delays in fulfilling orders for new ships.

In the last six years, three fires have been reported on submarines under repair.

The Admiral Kuznetsov was to be the first of a new fleet of Soviet aircraft carriers, but the Russian navy has been hit by a huge drop in funding since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

The hull of what was to be its sister ship was sold by Ukraine to China, completed, and christened as the Liaoning.

The USSR had five aircraft carriers at the height of its power.


More Related News

15 Flaws in Adam Schiff
15 Flaws in Adam Schiff's Case

Adam Schiff did most of the heavy lifting for the House managers, and if he performed ably, he also relied on arguments and tropes that don't withstand scrutiny.The Democratic case for impeachment and removal is now heavily encrusted with clichés, widely accepted by the media, meant to give their indictment additional weight.In his lengthy opening statement last week, Schiff relied on all of them, and then some.This is not to say that the basic charge against Trump - withholding defense aid to Ukraine to try to force investigations that he wanted - is wrong, or that Trump's conduct was proper.It's just that to try to get it to the level of impeachment and removal requires rhetorical...

Russian tour operators stop selling tours to China over coronavirus - industry body
Russian tour operators stop selling tours to China over coronavirus - industry body

Russian tour operators have stopped selling tours to China due to the coronavirus outbreak there and are only bringing Russian tourists back, Dmitry Gorin, vice president of the Association of Russian Tour Operators told Reuters on Monday. The move followed recommendations from Russia's tourism watchdog, he said. Russia, which has daily direct flights to several Chinese cities, has no confirmed cases of the new virus.

The Distortions of Holocaust History by Russia and Poland Are a Disgrace
The Distortions of Holocaust History by Russia and Poland Are a Disgrace
  • World
  • 2020-01-27 08:19:19Z

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- On Jan. 27, 1945 - 75 years ago today - the Red Army liberated Auschwitz, the concentration camp that stands for the worst crimes ever committed, by Germans or anybody in history. It was already hard enough to find the right tone to mark this occasion - sensitive to Holocaust survivors and descendants of the victims and yet exhortative to all people, including the descendants of the perpetrators, to ensure that nothing like this can ever happen again. But now some people are making it so much harder, by deliberately choosing cynical words intended not to commemorate and reconcile, but to distort and divide.The main culprits are the presidents of Russia and Poland,...

AP FACT CHECK: Fact and fiction in Trump
AP FACT CHECK: Fact and fiction in Trump's impeachment trial
  • World
  • 2020-01-27 05:12:18Z

Laying out their impeachment defense, President Donald Trump's lawyers perpetuated a baseless claim that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election as they argued that Trump had good reason to withhold military aid to the country. It was one of several statements surrounding Week 1 of the impeachment trial where truth came up short. Democrats on the prosecution team, facing a tall task of persuading a Republican-led Senate to remove the president from office, occasionally stretched beyond the facts as they presented their case that he abused power and obstructed Congress.

Russia Is Determined to Buy Stealth Fighters, Bombers, Drones and Even a New Aircraft Carrier
Russia Is Determined to Buy Stealth Fighters, Bombers, Drones and Even a New Aircraft Carrier

The Russian armed forces have committed to a wide range of expensive acquisitions programs, in particular new ships and planes. The likely cost strains credulity.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Asia